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What do you say – Math or Maths?
This post was inspired when I shared a photo of a funny T-shirt (from the US)
Friends commented it should be Maths not Math!
In the US – they say Math. In the UK and British-background countries like here in Australia – they say Maths.
As a word nerd and writing trainer, I’m often asked questions like this – so I better be prepared for the Math or Maths question.
I often train US businesses full of Americans AND Brits and Aussies. And both sides are so sure THEY are right!
I consulted one of my favourite “authorities” on the English language (Daily Writing Tips) – and even though the site is based in the US – it presented logical arguments in favour of both Math and Maths. Link at the end of this post.
I was brought up to call it Maths. Math sounds unnatural to my ear.
I understand that Maths sounds unnatural to American ears. It’s what you get used to.
I argue that logically it should be called maths – not math.
1. Think of many subjects – physics, ethics, statistics, economics, torts, mathematics – they all end in S.
You don’t study physic, ethic, economic, tort, or mathematic 🙂
You may argue – but math is an abbreviation of mathematics!
Even so, that brings me to argument 2.
2. What’s the abbreviation of, say, – statistics?
I’m studying for a st…(?) exam.
It’s statS. Not stat! (Maybe the abbreviation “stats” is just another Australian expression. )
Who cares whether it’s math or maths?
According to the stats, 98% of maths teachers care!
The word Communications – is abbreviated to Comms.
I was curious – what do they say in Canada? – British language background (as well as French) plus US influence.
Apparently it’s Math. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)
There’s an amusing story of a Canadian misunderstanding a Brit who’d say maths – mishearing it as MAPS!
One thing American Math lovers definitely do so well is create great Math T-shirts.
And they make good Math puns!
I guess the Math/Maths issue is just another little delightful difference between the US English and British-based English.
I don’t think this small difference will divide us. We are > that.:)
Let me know what you think. Maybe you have other reasons why it should be Maths OR Math.
Here’s the link if you’d like more on arguments for Maths or Math.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing etc. I like to help people COPE.